There is the spring football game.
College football officially begins in Coral Gables when Paradise Camp starts.
June is one of the most critical months in the recruiting calendar, and the Miami Hurricanes ended it with a splash this weekend, hosting prospects in Coral Gables for Paradise Camp 2019.
Manny Diaz has taken the baton for the camp after Mark Richt stepped down to retire. Diaz did not take a dive in the pool, a tradition Richt took part in to kick off South Florida’s most significant recruiting event of the summer.
Paradise Camp is a vital evaluation day for the Hurricanes. It’s an invite-only camp, leading the Hurricanes to pick and choose which prospects it gets to watch, which means it can see unproven prospects compete against high-level competition. More than 100 candidates in attendance at the Carol Soffer Indoor Practice Facility (what a difference from the hot Miami sun), it’s impossible to list everyone the Hurricanes got to see Saturday but no surprise to who stood out.
I have seen the online videos on Tyler Van Dyke. He immediately caught my eye as the real potential future quarterback at “The U.” Van Dyke, who committed to the Hurricanes in April, passed the rock eight times in seven-on-seven drills and completed all eight of those attempts. Majority of those completions all went to Darnell Washington, a five-star tight end and one of Miami’s top remaining targets in the Class of 2020.
“This is it, this is the place for me,” Van Dyke said. “This is home.”
When you look down at the chart, Washington stands at 6-foot-8 and 248 pounds. In-person, larger. Physically, the defense did not have an answer for the senior from Desert Pines. Van Dyke, the senior from Suffield Academy in Connecticut, was impressive when throwing the ball deep. Five-star Belen Jesuit running back Don Chaney Jr. and three-star Deerfield Beach athlete Xavier Restrepo complimented Van Dyke.
Defensively, it is not clear if James Williams, a 6-5, 218-pound five-star safety from Western will be at “The U,” in the future. He is one of the top targets in the Class of 2021 after he de-committed from Miami in May.
The future is bright for Miami when it comes to Paradise Camp; however, the cool factor year after year are the UM football alum who return and share their wisdom and passion for the Hurricanes.
“We tell our recruits, it is going to freak you out that those guys already know who you are,” Diaz stated. “They are going to be on us if we bring guys in this program that are not worthy of upholding the standard of UM football. They need to be ready to deal with that expectation.”
The camp is always dripping in swag with Hurricanes greats in attendance. Ed Reed, Jeremy Shockey, Willis McGahee, Michael Irvin, Brett Romberg, Calais Campbell, Jonathan Vilma, Jon Beason, Kenny Phillips, D.J. Williams, Antrel Rolle, Bryant McKinnie, Vince Wilfork, Devin Hester to name a few from past to present.
It was an honor to meet Rohan Marley, the son of reggae artist Bob Marley. Marley played linebacker for “The U,” where he played alongside Dwayne Johnson, Warren Sapp, and Ray Lewis.
“It is a beautiful thing to get a chance, to reunite with your bothers,” Marley stated. “Also, coach Manny is dealing with rebuilding this program, rejuvenating the youth and getting this in touch with former players, and we love our school.”
In 1993, he led the Hurricanes with 95 tackles. He later played professional football in the Canadian Football League with the Ottawa Rough Riders.
The Hurricanes also hosted two official visitors who couldn’t participate in the camp.
Keshawn Lawrence, a four-star safety, made his second official visit. He took his first with the LSU Tigers in April and is also considering South Carolina, Ole Miss, and the Tennessee Volunteers.
The other official visitor was Dazalin Worsham from Hewitt-Trussville in Trussville, Alabama, who committed to the Crimson Tide in April. The four-star senior wide receiver committed to the Alabama Crimson Tide in April.